The Black Rhinoceros, Black Rhino or Hook- lipped Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) is a species of Rhinoceros, native to Eastern and Southern Africa, including Angola, Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Eswatini, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Although the species is referred to as Black, its colours vary from brown to grey. It is the only extent species of the genus Deciros.
1. The species was first named Rhinoceros bicornis by Carl Linnaues in the 10th edition of his Systema Naturae in 1758. The name means “double horned Rhinoceros.”
2. The Black Rhinoceros first originated in the Eocene about fifty million years ago alongside other members of Perissodactyla.
3. An adult Black Rhinoceros stands 140-180 cm high at the shoulder and is 3- 3.75 m in length.
4. An adult Black Rhinoceros typically weighs from 800 to 1,400 kg however, unusually large male specimens have been reported at up to 2,896 kg.
5. The longest known Black Rhinoceros horn measured nearly 1.5 m in length.
Sometimes, a third smaller horn may develop.
6. They use their horns for defense, intimidation, digging up roots, and breaking branches during feeding.
7. The Black Rhino has a pointed and prehensile upper lip, which it uses to grasp leaves and twigs when feeding.
8. Their thick layered skin helps to protect Black rhinos from thorns and sharp grasses.
9. Their skin harbours external parasites, such as mites and ticks, which may be eaten by oxpeckers and egrets.
10. It is commonly assumed that Black Rhinos have poor eyesight, relying more on hearing and smelling.
11. However, studies have shown that their eyesight is comparatively good, at about the level of a rabbit.
12. Their ears have a relatively wide rotational range to detect sounds. An excellent sense of smell alerts rhinos to the presence of predators.
13. As with many other components of the African large mammal fauna, Black Rhinoceros probably had a wider range in the northern part of the continent in prehistoric times than today.
14. The natural range of the Black Rhino included most of Southern and Eastern Africa, but it did not occur in the Congo Basin, the Tropical Rainforest areas along the Bight of Benin, the Ethiopian Highlands and the Horn of Africa.
15. In May 2017,18, Black Rhinos were translocated from South Africa to the Akegara National Park in Rwanda.
16. Black rhinos are generally thought to be solitary, with the only strong bond between a mother and her calf.
17. Generally, Black Rhinos have smaller home ranges and larger densities in habitats that have plenty of food and water available and vice versa if resources are not readily available.
18. Black Rhino in captivity and reservations sleep patterns have been recently studied to show that males sleep longer on average than females by nearly double the time.
19. Black Rhinos are known to be extremely aggressive and charge readily at perceived threats. They have been observed to charge tree trunks and termite mounds.
20. Black Rhinos follow the same traits that Elephants use to get them from foraging areas to water holes.
21. Black Rhinos are herbivorous browsers that eat leafy plants, twigs, branches, shoots, thorny wood bushes, small trees, legumes, fruits and grass.
22. Black Rhinos use several forms of communication. Due to their solitary nature, scent marking is often used to identify themselves from other Black rhinos.
23. The Black Rhinos have powerful tube-shaped ears that can freely rotate in all directions. This highly developed sense of hearing allows Black rhinos to detect sound over vast distances.
24. Today, there are various threats posed to Black Rhinos, including habitat changes, illegal poaching and competing species.